Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)

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Panda Express Orange Chicken combines crispy fried chicken pieces with a flavorful citrus sauce. Make this easy orange chicken recipe today! The spicy orange sauce on the coated chicken is the best flavor. 

titled: panda express orange chicken


Hot and crispy, with a sweet and tangy sauce, Panda Express® has nailed the perfect way to make crispy orange chicken. 

It’s no wonder why it’s their most popular menu item!

Now, you can recreate this entrée in your kitchen right down to that signature irresistible sauce.

When it comes to homemade orange chicken, this is one of my favorite recipes.

You can easily make your own orange chicken at home in small batches, for when that craving hits.

Use the simple steps of this Copycat Panda Express recipe as the best way to get those flavors in your own kitchen.

It’s a great way to step into the world of restaurant copycat recipes with the way this orange chicken recipe tastes. 

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe

Enjoy all of the delicious flavors of takeout at a fraction of the cost! This easy orange chicken Panda Express copycat recipe makes enough to feed the whole family.

Pair this scrumptious entrée with pork fried rice and crispy spring rolls for a full spread that can’t be beat.

Looking for more copycat recipes of your takeout favorites? Here’s a classic fried rice that is ready in just 30 minutes.

Try our homemade version of the Panda Express broccoli beef recipe or my delicious barbacoa, just like the kind from Chipotle! 

We also have an amazing kung pao chicken that is ready in less than an hour!

Orange Chicken Panda Express Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Choose the right oil. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all great options for frying. 

    When making this crispy orange chicken, we typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
  • Adjust the spice level. The spice in this dish comes from chili pepper paste and ginger. 

    As written, the orange chicken sauce is mildly spicy like the restaurant version, but you can adjust the amounts to make this dish spicier if you’d like.
  • Watch the oil temperature. It needs to stay consistent, between 350°F and 375°F. Too low, and the battered meat will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. 

    If the oil is too hot, the batter will burn before the center has a chance to cook through.
  • Or use a deep fryer! If you happen to have one, now’s the time to use it. 

    You can set the exact oil temperature you need, and the appliance will keep it consistent throughout frying.

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

Panda Express Orange Chicken Recipe FAQ

What does Panda Express orange chicken taste like? 

All of the flavor in the Asian chicken dish comes from the Panda Express signature orange chicken sauce, which features orange peel, soy sauce, vinegar, and red chili peppers. This gives the dish a citrusy sweet and tangy flavor with just a hint of heat.

Can I make the Panda Express orange chicken recipe ahead of time? 

For the best flavor, we recommend serving this orange chicken Panda Express copycat dish immediately after frying. 

Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 days and reheated prior to serving.

What toppings pair well with the orange flavor? 

The tangy orange sauce might be the star of the show, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t add toppings. Orange zest, red pepper flakes, a sprinkle of brown sugar, sesame seeds, white pepper, regular soy sauce, or even a bit of maple syrup pair really well with the flavors and quite possibly add a spicy kick. 

For the best results, add whatever toppings that you want to these bite-size pieces. The orange glaze and tangy orange citrus sauce pars well with just about anything!

Reheating Orange Chicken Leftovers

Air Fryer

For perfectly crispy results, nothing beats the air fryer! Place leftover Panda Express orange chicken in the basket and cook for 3 to 4 minutes at 400°F. 

Warm any additional sauce in the microwave on medium power.

Reheating in the Oven

Arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. 

Bake at 350°F for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the chicken is warmed through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.

You could also reheat crispy orange chicken leftovers in the microwave, but the chicken pieces will be soft instead of firm and crispy.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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    panda express orange chicken close up

    Panda Express Orange Chicken (Copycat Recipe)

    Donna Elick
    Panda Express Orange Chicken combines crispy fried chicken pieces with a flavorful citrus sauce. Make this easy orange chicken recipe today!
    5 stars from 6 reviews
    Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
    Prep Time 45 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour
    Course Main
    Cuisine Asian
    Method Stovetop
    Servings 6 – 8


    • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup cornstarch
    • 1 teaspoon paprika
    • 1/2 teaspoon coarse black pepper
    • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
    • vegetable oil, or other neutral flavored oil, for frying


    • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon red chili pepper paste
    • 1 teaspoon garlic paste
    • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
    • 1 tablespoon light soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon orange zest
    • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
    • 2 green onions (scallions), thinly sliced, for garnish (optional)


    • Heat at least 4 to 5 inches of vegetable or other neutral flavored frying oil in a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven until it reaches 375°F.
    • Meanwhile, prepare the chicken pieces. In a shallow bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, paprika, black pepper, garlic salt, and onion powder. In a second bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, and 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil.
    • Dip the chicken pieces, a few at a time, first into the milk mixture and then into the flour mixture to coat evenly.
    • When the oil heats to 375°F, cook the chicken by carefully dropping several battered pieces at a time into the hot oil. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is light golden brown. Lift the chicken from the oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper bag or paper towels to soak up the excess oil.
    • For the sauce: In a saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of sesame oil over medium heat. Add the chili pepper paste, garlic paste, and ginger paste and sauté for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
    • Add the remaining sauce ingredients: soy sauce, orange zest rice vinegar, and sugar. Whisk the cornstarch into the orange juice and add that too the saucepan as well. Stir and simmer sauce for a few minutes until it has thickened.
    • Toss the cooked chicken with the finished sauce to coat completely, garnish with green onion slices (if desired) and serve immediately.

    Donna’s Notes

    1. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, but chicken is crisp and best immediately after frying.
    2. Maintain a steady temperature between 350° and 375°F for the cooking oil. If the temperature falls too low, the chicken will absorb too much oil and take longer to cook. Oil that is too hot will burn the batter on the chicken quickly. If using the stovetop (versus a deep fryer), you will likely need to monitor and adjust the frying oil throughout the cooking time.
    3. Vegetable oil, shortening, and peanut oil are all options for fry oil. We typically use liquid vegetable shortening.
    4. The chili pepper paste and ginger add the spice in this dish and can be adjusted for spicier flavor. As written, the recipe is mildly spicy, like Panda Express.


    Serving: 1 | Calories: 404cal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 130mg | Sodium: 753mg | Sugar: 20g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 1mg

    All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    titled pinterest image for orange chicken recipe

    Post originally published April 18, 2022, updated and republished March 2024

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    1. 5 stars
      I tried making this to copy the Panda Express orange chicken that my wife loves, and it turned out really well. We were both surprised at how close it compares, while having that home-cooked flavor that makes it all the better!

      1. 5 stars
        Herbs are found in the Produce Department, they have Garlic paste. Where I live we shop at Albertsons and the red chili 🌶️ pepper paste is found on the isle that has ethnic food (Mexican, Oriental, Thai). If you still can’t find the items ask an employee of the store, they can usually direct you to the area.

        Hope this helps you, Mary 😊

    2. I’m wondering if you can use chicken thighs and if not what the reasoning for that is. I’m just curious. I’m not a chicken breast person but if there is a reason that they are a better choice then it makes it easier!!

      1. Im sure boneless skinless thighs would be delicious in this as well. Use the cut of meat you prefer! My husband prefers thigh meat too!

    3. 5 stars
      this recipe is amazing! I followed it step by step, and the Panda Express Orange Chicken turned out to be a delightful masterpiece. Donna and Chad’s recipes on The Slow Roasted Italian never disappoint!

    4. 5 stars
      Donna and Chad, you’ve done it again! This Panda Express Orange Chicken is a knockout. I couldn’t believe how close it tasted to the restaurant version.

    5. 5 stars
      Wow! This copycat recipe produced a dish that is truly a replica of panda’s orange chicken. It took a bit longer to prep and cook but truly worth it. I added sautéed green, red, and orange sweet peppers and sliced onions tossed with some of the sauce and made my own ginger/garlic paste and cooked the scallions with the basmati rice – truly delicious. Hubby loved it – now I will only order panda when I am feeling lazy. Great recipe- thanks!!

    6. 5 stars
      Loved it!
      Unfortunately Panda has no restaurants in the Netherlands yet.
      So we have to make our own.
      Brings me back into the holiday vibe!

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